John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Showing posts for "SADC"

The Sub-Saharan Security Tracker

by John Campbell
Volunteers set up eight thousand candles in the shape of the African continent as part of a demonstration entitled "Africa needs medicine now" at the parliament square in Berne, Switzerland December 1, 2005. (Reuters/Pascal Lauener)

The Council on Foreign Relations’ Africa Program has just “soft-launched” a new online tool we call the Sub-Saharan Security Tracker (SST). We anticipate a roundtable at the Council’s New York and Washington offices to introduce formally the SST. In the meantime, it is available for use. Read more »

The Likelihood of Instability in Zimbabwe

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe gestures as he arrives to address Zimbabwe's Independence Day celebrations in Harare, April 18, 2016.(Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo)

Tyler Falish is an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program, and a student in Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy & Development.

Last spring, the Council on Foreign Relations published a Contingency Planning Memorandum (CPM) by Ambassador George F. Ward that described the potential for political instability and violence in Zimbabwe. Amb. Ward detailed three paths to instability in Zimbabwe: President Robert Mugabe’s death before an appointed successor is installed; a serious challenge to Mugabe’s control driven by increased factionalism; and an economic crisis triggering demand for political change. He also offered three corresponding “warning indicators”: any sign that Mugabe’s health is in decline; indication of increased dissent or infighting within the ruling party, Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF); and public unrest. Read more »

South Africa, a King, and the Rule of Law

by John Campbell
AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Zwelibanzi Dalindyebo speaks to journalists after handing over a memorandum to government officials in Pretoria, July 10, 2013. (Reuters/Sumaya Hisham)

The alarums and excursions over South Africa’s economy and economic policy do not stop. December saw the discreditable episode of President Jacob Zuma’s hiring and firing multiple ministers of finance in only a few days and a drop in the country’s estimated economic growth rate to perhaps 1.2 percent. The new year kicked off with an apparent standoff with the United States over trade that if unresolved would end South Africa’s participation in the benefits of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). But, a BBC news item that appeared New Year’s Eve highlights how South Africa’s commitment to the rule of law makes it well-prepared to weather the multiple crises of the moment. Read more »

South Africa President Jacob Zuma on Libya and the European Migration Crisis

by John Campbell
South African President Jacob Zuma (R) meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping (not pictured) at the Great Hall Of the People in Beijing, China, September 4, 2015. (Reuters/Lintao Zhang/Pool)

Jacob Zuma’s anger and poor understanding of the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya apparently still shapes his approach to the West.

On September 15, President Zuma briefed the foreign diplomatic corps accredited to South Africa on the country’s foreign policy. According to the South African media, the speech was prepared by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (the foreign ministry). But, the South African media reports that at one point Zuma departed from the text to say, inter alia, “Before the Arab Spring and before the killing of Gaddafi there were no refugees flying or flocking to European countries. It was all quiet….Things were normal in the north of Africa…. Those who were part of destabilizing that part of the world don’t want to accept refugees. It is their responsibility. They caused it. They must address it.” Zuma appears to be mixing together the migration from and through Libya with the much larger flow of migrants from countries like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Eritrea. Read more »

Why Did South Africa’s Jacob Zuma Cave to Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe?

by John Campbell
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (L) and his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma (R) visit a maize stand during their tour at Harare Agricultural Show, August 28, 2009. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters)

Simukai Tinhu in Think Africa Press provides a credible answer as to why South African President Jacob Zuma seemingly abandoned his democratic principles and his African leadership role in the face of Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe’s intransigence during his country’s July elections process. Read more »